While UFC brass would be ecstatic if Anderson Silva was able to return at the end of 2014, it remains more likely that “The Spider” will make his Octagon return in early 2015. Silva has made remarkable strides in his recovery since breaking his leg against Chris Weidman in their middleweight title rematch at UFC 168, and he has been fully cleared to resume MMA training. There’s no doubt that the return of one of the greatest fighters of all time will be a major event for the organization.
There are a number of attractive options that could be in play for Silva’s return, and one prominent name appears to be at the top of the list. Silva’s manager Ed Soares was a guest on The MMA Hour and stated that the longtime former middleweight champ is interested in a fight against Nick Diaz. Both fighters pride themselves on their striking abilities, and it would have the potential of being a tremendous matchup that would do major pay-per-view numbers.
Interestingly enough, Diaz’s name seems to come up when it comes to potential blockbuster matchups the longer he stays away from the sport. The two-time welterweight title challenger hasn’t fought since March of 2013 after losing to Georges St.Pierre at UFC 158 and has let it be known he won’t be coming back for anything less than a title fight or a major event. A potential matchup against Silva would definitely qualify as the big-time fight that Diaz is seeking and would also earn him the type of financial compensation that he’s looking for.
Soares also mentioned Cung Le and Michael Bisping as other possibilities. Those two middleweights are due to meet in Macau, China in August, and the winner of that fight could also be in the mix. There’s no doubt, though, that Diaz would be the option to generate the most buzz.
The UFC has offered Diaz fights against Carlos Condit and Hector Lombard without any success during his current sabbatical. If a chance to fight Silva, someone Diaz has expressed an interest in facing in the past, isn’t enough to lure him back into the Octagon, then it would be clear that his current “retirement” has become a permanent one.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports